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Hardscrabble Scramble
March 1998 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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The Strings The Thing

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

As tournament season approaches, it is important to make sure that not only is your game ready but that your equipment is ready as well. I think one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment is the string you select for your racquet. A player may agonize for weeks deciding which new racquet to buy and then give no thought at all about which string to select. Most players just drop their racquet off and say "string it." The string and stringing tension you select are very important and should not be taken lightly.

There is old saying that you should have your racquet strung as many times in a year as you play in a week. So, if you play 2 times per week, you should have your racquet strung twice each year. Today's strings are much more durable and can withstand the pounding they take in the longer and wider racquets. But today's strings also provide more feel and can really play a big part in how your racquet performs. I've had customers that even decided against buying a new frame after they saw the improvement with a new string job in their old racquet.

Multifilament strings, also referred to as soft strings, are the new rage in the industry. They allow more stretching of the string bed and gives more of a forgiving, spongy feel. This can be a real blessing for those that suffer tennis elbow. There are so many types and brands of strings out there that you have quite a choice. There are braided strings, solid core strings, hybrid strings, etc. The tension you select is also very important. A higher tension decreases the power coming off the strings and usually provides more control. The opposite is true for lower stringing tensions, as they will give you more power and a softer feel. That is one reason that the "soft" strings have become so popular - you can get the soft feel without lowering the tension.

Each type of string is unique and I would encourage you to talk to your pro or stringer about which string is best suited for your game. Take time to learn about strings and how much better a new string job will make your racquet feel. After all, the strings the thing that is making contact with the ball, so give some attention to this important part of your equipment.

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


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